Algorithms are a bit of the mystery of the times. No company wants to be looked at. At the very least, they help determine which topics are socially relevant. And again and again the question arises as to whether people and opinions can be shaped, shifted or radicalized by them. DataSkop wants to take a closer look at how Tiktok suggests content.
In order to support the project, you have to request and make your data available via a GDPR query. Alternatively, you can do this within the app itself. Or you can use the DataSkop app, which does this automatically. It usually takes a few days for the query to be answered. Then users can see how much and when they were online, what content they watched and more.
The donated data is then examined by AlgorithmWatch and the Dataskop project team for the recommendation algorithm. The questions to be answered include how trends emerge on the platform, what niches there are and whether certain content is preferred. This also includes a comparison of the feeds. All results will be published after the end of the project.
Research from Instagram and LinkedIn
Another problem was that, according to Facebook, the data query violated the GDPR. The data received from those users who agreed automatically also showed data from other people who did not know anything about it. There was also a similar project in the USA that was scrapped due to the threat of lawsuits.
A study by AlgorithmWatch from LinkedIn was more successful. The result was that the job platform automatically classifies people who are interested in a job in another EU country as unsuitable via the “Recruiter” service.
Tiktok in criticism
Last but not least, Tiktok is often criticized for showing or suppressing content in a targeted manner, also because the Chinese group Bytedance is behind it. However, the short video platform is very keen on communication. It is said again and again that they intentionally want to offer and promote little political content and only entertainment. Of course, that only works to a limited extent.
Openness should also be created using three APIs. Scientists, researchers and civil society should get an insight into the app. The interfaces are still available as beta versions.
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